Columbia-area lawmaker plans to redevelop historic business downtown. Here’s what’s planned

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You used to be able to get lunch, cough medicine and an oil change in just one stop on Taylor Street.

The Taylor Street Pharmacy and Columbia Tire Service occupied 1531 and 1529 Taylor St. throughout the 1950s. Later, a flower shop briefly took root at the property.

Now, state Rep. Seth Rose, D-Richland, is hoping to cement the building as a Columbia landmark and redevelop it into a sandwich shop and restaurant.

Cooper Tire Company built the property in 1946 after buying two residential houses and razing them to build a dual-purpose business office and auto shop, according to information provided to the city committee.

In more recent history, the building housed Pope-Davis Tire and Automotive and bears a large, faded sign for Cooper Tires, but the property is now vacant.

Rose told The State that he often walked past the building, as his law office is nearby on Blanding Street. When he saw the property was for sale, he jumped at the opportunity to invest in Columbia’s future, he said.

“I always thought it was such a unique building and that it could be something really incredible,” he said.

Rose has received offers for the building but said he’s turned them down because he wants the project to be something fun for the city. He’s pitching a sandwich shop in the front part of the property, and then a restaurant and or a raw bar in the back. He also wants to maintain the auto-shop feel.

“I want this property to be something that could change the block and be a catalyst to turn this very visible stretch of road in Columbia into something amazing,” Rose said.

The idea is still in the early stages. They still need to make sure the budget works, but Rose said he’s confident the idea will resonate with others in the city. Rose is applying for landmark status to leverage tax credits and other programs that help redevelop historic properties.

Columbia’s Design, Development Review Commission granted initial approval for the historic landmark status Thursday.

City staff recommended the landmark status be approved and forward to City Council based on the criteria that the building is “an example of a style or type of building which is becoming, or is in danger of becoming, extinct locally.”

Included in the application materials were maps showing few other buildings nearby in good condition with ties to Columbia’s automotive past.

Rose Business Holdings LLC now owns the property and an adjoining parcel at 1607 Pickens Street, which was purchased in late 2022.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include additional details about the plans to redevelop the property.